Recorded in 1927. This same tune was recorded at about the same time by Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon, well known at the time for his tunes full of innuendo (not to mention his parallel career as a female impersonator), as "Willie The Weeper." These tunes may be the earliest known "reefer" tunes in American popular culture (with the exception of "La Cucaracha"). The references to "smoking pills" in these "Willie" tunes isn't that strange when it is taken into consideration that drug vernacular at the time referred to balls of opium as "pills." Ernest Rodgers was a "citybilly" type who also was an established journalist in Atlanta.
September 27, 2014 Subject:
Lonnie Johnson did a tune in 1932 a year after Minnie the Moocher was written called Winnie the Wailer with a similar melody and lyrics closer to Willie the Chimney Sweeper
March 8, 2008 Subject:
I didn't know there was an ur-Minnie the Moocher out there. Pretty damn cool! It's much spookier on guitar.
September 6, 2003 Subject:
Also known as...
This song's quite clearly an alternate version of the better-known "Minnie The Moocher" (heard in "The Blues Brothers" and the TV series "Jeeves And Wooster", for instance) -- some of the lyrics are identical. It makes some of the references in the later song a bit more obvious once you know what it's based on.